Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Key "Hearts-and-Minds" Word

America has been using the word “democracy” a lot in order to influence the “hearts-and-minds” of the Muslim world to turn away from terrorism. So far we have not inluenced many people, if any. Take a look at what is happening at the 3 new “democracies” in the Middle East: Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon. We need a new word that represents American philosophy better and that will be easier to sell.

This idea seized my mind after I read Annia Ciezadlo's article "Sheik Up," in the August 7 issue of The New Republic. She presents a profile of Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Hezbollah in Lebanon. She relates how in September of 1997, immediately before Nasrallah was scheduled to make a speech, the Israeli Army killed his 18-year-old son Hadi Nasrallah. This did not stop Nasrallah from making the required speech. Then Ciezadlo narrates:

"Breaking off from his speech, Nasrallah noted that the country had given many martyrs the previous night. He recited the names of the soldiers and added, almost as an afterthought, that his son and another Hezbollah fighter were also killed. He thanked God for choosing a martyr from his family, saying that, while he used to feel ashamed in front of families whose sons had died for their country, now he could look them in the eye.... "

Hassan Nasrallah, like Osama bin Laden, worships death. Nasrallah is filled with hatred towards Israelis and Americans. He believes that by killing heretics and nonbelievers he will achieve martyrdom. He considers martyrdom of his son to be an unadulterated good. No wonder Americans, with their zest for life, cannot understand the terrorists.

We have a tendency to lump all Muslims in the same pile. Many of us think that because terrorists are always screaming "Allah akbar" (Allah is great), they are worshipers of the true Muslim religion. This is not so. The terrorists have hijacked Islam and are using it for their own horrible purposes.

In reality Islam is an extension of Judaism and Christianity. Muslims venerate the Bible and the prophets and follow the 10 commandments. As the following quotations show, all of these religions place great emphasis not on hate, but on love:

Rabbi Hillel: "Don't do to others what you wouldn't have them do unto you."

Jesus Christ: "Love they neighbor as thyself."

Prophet Muhammad: "None of you can be a believer unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."

So you see that true Muslims do not worship death but life. True Muslims are not hateful, but believe in the power of love just as Christians and Jews do. They want to live a good life just as much as the rest of us do.

Muslims all over venerate Saladin, the George Washington of the Muslim world, who ruled in the 13th century and presided with great tolerance over people who worshipped differently from him. As a matter of fact, the great Jewish sage Maimonides was a consultant in Saladin's court. At that time too, the Muslim civilization was full of life, with great achievements in industry, art and commerce.

By the way, the Prophet Muhammad was a successful businessman.

We need to talk to the real Muslims, not the terrorist Muslims. The key word we must use is not "democracy," though we surely cherish it. We have been throwing "democracy" around for a long time to no avail. People do not understand what we mean by the word. Arabs are disillusioned with "democracy" in Iraq or Egypt. The key word, the word that represents the real philosophy of America, is "LIFE."

It should be easy to convince Muslims that a philosophy of life is superior to a philosophy of death.

America's philosophy is summed up in the immortal phrase:

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

This contrasts severely with the equivalent terrorist Muslim phrase:

"Hatred, submission and the pursuit of martyrdom."

To sway the "hearts-and-minds" of true Muslims all over the world, we should spread our American philosophy by word and deed. Instead of favoring death, we favor life - and we work tirelessly to enhance life. Instead of hatred, we speak of love - and employ love in our dealings with other nations. Instead of glorifying martyrdom, we encourage all to seek happiness - and we help all nations do it.

In all America's dealings with all nations of the world, the key word should be "LIFE."

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 2, 2006 6:53 PM
Comments
Comment #172905

Maybe this reasoning will work with 80% of the population. The other 20% cannot be reasoned with. They hate us for who we are, not what we’ve done.

Posted by: nikkolai at August 2, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #172906

That’s an interesting fantasy. I wish it were true.
Islam is NOT an extension of Judaism and Christianity. Muhammad was well travelled and was familiar with Biblical stories and traditions. He incorporated some highly distorted versions of some of them in his mythology.
“The Sword of the Prophet” by Serge Trifkovic is a good place to start if you’re interested in the truth.

Posted by: traveller, at August 2, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #172908

Paul, I generally find your posts filled with wisdom and insightfullness. However, while I have a great affection for the US and its people, truth requires that I cannot ignore its more ignoble moments. I know there will be those who will criticise me for saying what I will say, throwing at me that the US saved Europe from Nazism, which I fully accept it did, along with the Soviet Union. And before anyone jumps on it, I know that the Soviets did not release their grip on the nations that fell under their influence as the US did. American ideals are the ideals of humanity, except that in the US, many people are less cynical that perhaps we in Europe are about these ideals in practice.

But let’s be honest here. The US also has a very ignoble history alongside its more enlightened side. It’s history in south and central America for example, does it little credit. The massive exploitation of these countries for the benefit of US multi national companies as left a legacy of bitterness, which is expressing itself today in movement to the left and rejection of US influence in the region. Indeed, I’ve noticed a certain crowing on the other side at the apparent passing of the Castro regime in Cuba. Let’s not forget what was there before him. A US puppet government which kept its own people in poverty in order while making it a very friendly place for US companies and gangsters. I am no defender of Castro, but his regime does have some remarkable successes, not least in health and education. Indeed, the infant mortality rate in Cuba is lower than it is in the US. We all know about the US support for the facist Pinochet who overthrew the democratically elected Government with US support and connivance. We know about the contras in Nicaragua, the Reagan backed Government killers in El Salvador - http://www.pbs.org/itvs/enemiesofwar/elsalvador2.html
and similar behaviour throughout latin America. Of course it was not and is not confined to the Americas. Saudi Arabia is well pampered in the US. Saddam himself was aided by the US, as were Mujahedin in Afghanistan, who included many arabs ( a certain Osama Bin Laden comes to mind ) who were trained and equipped by the US, not least with stinger missiles in order to defeat the soviets. Of course I cannot leave out Vietnam, that beautiful country and its people, which was devastated in a war that was not only unnecessary, but also futile. The fact is, that the US has been a great supporter of tyranny for many years, as long as the tyrant was in the pocket of the US. Now I know that’s not especially an American trait, it is simply the trait of the powerful and the greedy. The fact is that US foreign policy has been no less cynical than that of other powers in seeking to advance its interests. Democracy didn’t come into it. And many innocents have lost their lives because of regimes supported and indeed put in place by the US, not least in Iran. Isn’t it funny how when you do certain things, you get almost exactly the opposite of what you intended - pace Iran under the Shah leading to the Mullahs and Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Isn’t that what we call the law of unintended consequences. Or maybe it’s just karma.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 2, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #172911

Paul,

Nice post. I agree there are more options we can offer/suggest for Islamic countries’ development than the one word Democracy.

Though rather than replacing Democracy, I suspect we can suggest additional ideas. Wherever Democracy has taken root, things have worked out pretty well for the citizens, for neighbor countries, and for the US. With Democracy and a market economy, they might automatically transition to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness on their own.

I agree that so many Muslims are so different from Westerners. However, are they really different-er than Chinese, Japanese (or even the French :-) ). Sharing our Judeo/Christian heritage (I am agnostic), they *might* come around quite fast once given opportunities.

I don’t think early MidEast democracies exemplify what will be there one day (soon?):
- Egypt’s historic 1-Candidate elections
- Iraq’s current birthing mess
- “Palestine’s” extremely limited self determination
- Lebanon (I think they have been a decently multi-ethnic/religious society that did well the last 50yrs … except for the external militarily domination by Israel, Syria, Hizbollah)

But I agree w/ your idea of suggesting other ideas / words which might expedite the transition they will make, and might help improve the form of their society and social spirit moreso.

I don’t know, but Democracy’s self determination, plus maybe a market economy and mortgages on their own homes might shift Muslims’ interest from jihad and suicide bombing, towards keeping their lawns green, keeping their children out of trouble and getting good grades, careers, hobbies, sports, and all the local petty issues that we have the luxury to care about as our main concerns.

Let’s just keep them away from blogging, right…

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #172916

Paul;

“The key word we must use is not “democracy,” though we surely cherish it. We have been throwing “democracy” around for a long time to no avail. People do not understand what we mean by the word.

I’m not sure WE know what we mean by the word, considering the condition our democracy is in.

“The key word, the word that represents the real philosophy of America, is “LIFE.”

Hmm, I’m afraid this is going to be a tough ‘sell’. We have the greatest killing machine ever devised by man, and feed it $600 to $700 billion a year. We have no qualms using it either—witness Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Haiti, Kuwait, Honduras, Nicaragua, Phillippines, Iraq, Lebanon.

This “life” thing is good PR. Too bad the people in charge find “death” much more lucrative.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 2, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #172920

Euro Paul,

I find your post off topic and inaccurate.

While some find the justification to bash America from even a discussion of the weather, I may be slow but did not notice how a discussion re improving Muslim countries/citizenry with Democracy, love of life / liberty / happiness, etc. is related to America-Is-(and always has been)-Bad.

Seems Paul’s discussion, and other Americans pitching in, of how American can DO MORE GOOD for other countries really touched a nerve, to make you bash the US. Seems this challenges your personal opinions(?)

Yes, America’s cup is partially empty in many ways. But:
- I think you are unfair / wrong in many of your accusations.
- To deserve such an unsolicited diatribe, the US must be PRETTY DAMN BAD compared to all the other countries out there, right?

You might not give anyone credit for doing something ~selflessly but, since you brought it up, please name a bunch of countries that have done something commensurate with saving Western Europe three times in the 20th century.

OK, as you also suggest, you prefer to ignore that. So maybe tell us all the wonderful countries who are currently doing SO MUCH more for today’s biggest world problems:
- Tsunami / Disaster relief
- AIDS in Africa / Developing World
- Democracy in Iraq
- Middle East mess
- Sudan
- N.Korea
- Iran
- etc.

C’mon. If America is so BAD, you must be able to name hundreds of countries. Don’t tell me you can’t objectively suggest EVEN ONE!!??

Since you mentioned Cuba by name:
Sure … Cubans were soooo exploited economically be American companies / gov’t, and Castro/Communism is sooooo good. Yes, Cubans were “kept in such poverty” that they bought so many US cars in the 1950s and haven’t been able to afford any cars from anywhere since, that these 1950 American cars are what is mostly on the road … why again? Yes indeed, like so many others in the world, I bet you are just dieing to emigrate to Cuba, eh?

And the US is so bad, exploited by greedy market-based-companies, etc. that NO Irishman (you are Irish, yes?) would ever think of coming here, right??

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #172928

Nice Slam Dunk there, Brian. Anxiously await the response—don’t you?

Posted by: nikkolai at August 2, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #172931

Be aware that the author of the book mentioned in traveller’s comment is a very anti-muslim Serb who was associated with the infamous Bosnian Serb forces when they fought the Bosnian Muslims.

He has some rather controversial opinions as documented in his Wikipedia article.


Posted by: cu at August 2, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #172939

Personally, I think Paul’s article was very well put, and from someone who obviously still respects and cares about America.

Thanks Paul, you are right in many ways. We need to lose some arrogance, admit our mistakes, and take another tack entirely.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 2, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #172949

I suspect that the author has spent too much time at the teat of american humanities textbooks and too little time reflecting upon the uncomfortable history of Islam and curent state of affairs in the Middle East.

While democracy remains the religion of secular myrmidons and america’s foreign policy fires the the fine hashish of political hookahs, Islamic terrorism continues its piecemeal assault on peace, prosperity and common sense.

The modern favored example of Mohammed pales in comparison to the pure example of Christ…lipstick on a hooker I dare say.

Far too many pundits have their reality skewed by the American Muslim, who exists in peace and hope…failing to recognize that those Muslims live in American precisely due to that hope and prosperity…while the world’s remaining Muslim population lives amidst civil war, genocide, terror, and force. It is not mere coincidence.

Should the author substitute his home/family for Israel…and his philosophical platitudes for a few thousand terrorist missiles and/or kiddie-bombs, I suspect he’d be quoting a whole new set of scriptures.

While I understand the desire to project personal convictions upon the blogosphere, I better understand the merit of truth and accuracy.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at August 3, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #172975

Matt,

unfortunately I have to agree with you. That is why we should proceed with care on the Middle East imo. Let’s take Iran. Moderates were gaining significant ground but have been set back by a hardening grip on daily life by the (religious) right, as a direct response to a step-up in U.S./Israeli “democratization” of the region.

Basically, we have made life more difficult for ALL Islamic moderates set to change the system from the inside out, while our policies from the start should have been aimed at strengthening them.

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 8:03 AM
Comment #172977

I would dare ask WHY we have to proceed there at all.

There are valid differences regarding the correct way to deal with terrorism, so I wont go there now. However, while I concede some merit to chasing terrorists/tyrants who endanger sovereign nations, I draw the line at the “diplomacy” of galavanting around the middle east “saving” them with some promise of utopian democracy.

The middle east is generally a third world region…far from the thriving hub of art, architecture, trade and mathematics that we read about in high school. The politically correct line about Islam as a religion of peace is a fond wish completely out of line with reality. Any reasonable person who follows history and current events reflects on the uncomfortable fact that ISLAM is at the heart of 95% of terrorist acts, genocides, civil wars and rebellions. Sugarcoat it your own special way, but Africa, Asia, Russia, Europe….you name it…if there’s trouble, there’s Islam.

Keep in mind, many Arabs have no desire to live under any form of democracy…many desire a THEOCRACY or Muslim state and will use democracy as a way to get there (Hamas/Palestinians for example)

For those Arabs who DO tire of the oppressive wierd beards running their countries, I say fight for your liberty as Americans once did. We routinely see that the Arab street has the ability to rally a large, frightening mob….so perhaps that mob should congregate at the palace rather than the nearest embassy.

Course that would require environmental wackos to shut their doo-gooding pieholes while we utilize our own vast natural resources and would require politicians to actually spend less time playing global policeman and more time securing the border.

Good luck.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at August 3, 2006 8:24 AM
Comment #172987

Matt wrote

“I would dare ask WHY we have to proceed there at all.”
————————————————————————-

Because our recent actions don’t leave us an alternative to proceeding.

A lot of moderate muslems were gaining enormous influence in Iranian daily life before we started meddling around in Iraq. Lebanon was an example of democratization, albeit with Hezbollah as a member of the government. Through our military actions (bombing Afghanistan, “liberating” Iraq, supporting Israel vs Lebanon) we have driven millions and millions of muslems towards their equivalent of our religious right. Much alike we “rallied around the flag” (/the President) immediately after 911, they now rally around however that uses the harshest rethorics against us.

Proceeding gently and diplomatically is the only option left. A further militarization will only make matters worse.

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #172994

“In reality Islam is an extension of Judaism and Christianity. Muslims venerate the Bible and the prophets and follow the 10 commandments.”

Paul,

This statement is like saying the Grand Canyon and a septic tank are both the same because they are both holes.
Ask any real Christian, Jew or Muslim if their religion is same as the others. For that matter, go to Indonesia and declare you are a Christian. At this point, the reality of the falsehood of this statement will hit you.

Muslims claim Christians worship three Gods while Muslims believe Jesus was only a prophet. Christainity completely hinges on Jesus being God.
Let us not forget the Quaran (which contradicts itself & the Bible repeatedly) and that Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. May not be a big deal to an Atheist/Agnostic/Humanist but it is a big deal for those of these faiths and goes much deeper the 10 commandments.

Posted by: Curmudgeon-at-large at August 3, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #172995

Brian,

“C’mon. If America is so BAD, you must be able to name hundreds of countries. Don’t tell me you can’t objectively suggest EVEN ONE!!??”

The Pollyannaish attitude that America has only ever been all goodness and light is foolish on it’s face.
America has done some wondrous thing in the world, but we have made some dubious decisions as well, all in the name of America’s arrogant self interest.

I don’t find Paul/euroland’s assessment that far off base.

America needs to review some of it’s more questionable policies that have pissed off the natives, and realize that sometimes supporting the despots that are for us works against what we do for all the good of the people of the world.

Posted by: Rocky at August 3, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #173009

Hoo boy.

I could go on for pages commenting on the comments in this thread, but that would miss the point. The “good America/bad America” argument is one that is as much a part of the genetic code of the liberal/conservative dichotomy as, say, opinions on abortion, and no blog in the world is going to bridge that gap. Instead, let’s get back to Paul’s original idea, and go from there.

I agree with Paul’s basic premise, that we need to rethink our way of presenting ourselves to the Muslim world, but there is one important idea that he misses, one that I’ve never seen anyone tackle properly If Islam preaches peace, why is it used more than any other religion to justify horrific acts? Most people take one look at this and immediately start spouting off quotes from the Quran about Jihad, but I think it needs a deeper analysis than that. If you must use that logic, look at all the justifications for violence that could be pulled out of our beloved Bible. Heck, it was used in this country for nearly a hundred years to justify slavery. Our holy book and their holy book are equally filled with violence and hatred and bigotry. So why are Muslims the ones strapping explosives to children? I think it has to do with a combination of religion and economics. The Muslim world, for all intents and purposes, IS the Third World, and to try to separate those two is both impossible and misses the point. Economic hardship stimulates religious fervor. Do you think it was a coincidence that the modern revivalist preacher in the U.S. came into being during the Great Depression? We are not immune to this either. Christianity was a religion of the common people for the first 300 years of it’s existence, mostly because it is a religion that stresses the wonders of the afterlife over the hardships of the material world, and even claims that the latter increases one’s chances of the former. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth”. In this way, Islam and Christianity are much the same. I can guarantee that, if the Middle East were Christian and we were Muslim, the situation would not be very different. It is religion distorted through the lens of economic hardship that is the real problem here.

Once you use this perspective, our situation becomes clear. 9/11 happened, not because they are jealous of us, but because they see us as immoral and decadent. Jesus himself said that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. They do not covet our money and power, because money and power, to them, are the trappings of sin. Thus, anything that comes from the West, including our beloved DEMOCRACY, is equally tainted. Thus we find ourselves in a (yes I shall use the world) quagmire that will make Vietnam look like a stroll through a forest preserve. How can democracy, even if it were wanted, take root in a country where the “popular opinion” is to fracture into three separate sectarian states, at least one of which would most likely want a theocracy? If we leave, it is civil war and a moral victory for terrorists. If we stay, they hate us that much more and the violence escalates. Perhaps we could install an iron-handed dictator that will quell the population by force….oh wait, we tried that.

So what to do? This is where I think that our friend Paul had the basic right of things. We have to redefine and rethink our entire purpose for being there. We will never be able to change the minds of the terrorists themselves, which leaves us with having to change the minds of the average Muslim. “Democracy” does not work. Will “life”? Only if we walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and all of the neocon posturing (Matt) or libertairian idealism (Josh) in the world will make a lick of difference if we don’t.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at August 3, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #173013

Paul,

I usually don’t care for your posts at all, but this time you hit the nail squarely on the head!

The problem right now with American policy (and in the past too, for that matter), is that it cares more about promoting an oppressive government abroad, than it cares about what’s really the “greater good” for that country’s people.

But Paul, take heart. The government that the US has right now, also cares more about oppressing it’s own people, right now, than in doing what is really in the people’s best interest.

It’s time for America to wake up from it’s long slumber, and stop voting against it’s own best interest!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 3, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #173015

It’s highly debatable whether the world’s great monotheistic religions have been good for the world or not. Monotheistic religions, by the nature, insist that their gods are the sole gods, and people or cultures who believe otherwise are not only wrong, but a threat. And even within a particular monotheistic religion, much blood has been shed because of different doctrines (just a few examples — the violence between the Niceans and Arians, the purges in Biblical history of syncrestic Jews, the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites). The fact of religious war may not have even existed before monotheistic religion, though a case can be built otherwise based on Roman violence toward Catholics, who received Roman ire not for believe in their god but for refusing to acknowledge the traditional Roman gods and thus threatening the pax Romana.

I know more about the Bible than the Koran, so I’ll just speak of the former. Yes, there are sections of great love and beauty in the former, but also warrant for much hatred. Pagans did not generally war for religious reasons; when they encountered other gods, they did not feel threatened. Indeed, they often included the news gods in their worship. The religious toleration we value so much in the West is not primarily a monotheistic value; it is a pagan one.

For more on this topic, read God Against the Gods by Jonathan Kirsch.

Posted by: Trent at August 3, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #173031

Trent,

I agree with you that the point is highly debateable. I believe that if you asked Marx, he would say that there were no religious wars only economic wars. This seems to be the point that that leatherankh’s post above tries to make.

While I think the view is too narrow and does not consider other societal stressors (family ties in the 18th century for instance, god on earth justifications in 17th century Europe and earlier in China, and yes, even some religious manefestations), I believe that there is something to the fact that wars (and revolutions for that matter) are not purely anything in their genesis or their prosecution.

But for the moment, let’s assume that religion was all that there was to the wars. Does the pinchent for violence outweigh the good that monotheistic religions have offered the world? To make that determination you have to compare some of the positives that these religions offer.

Let’s start with the idea of equality in the eyes of god. This idea took different periods of time to work it’s way through into policital thought in different places, but the idea that “all men are created equal,” is a viewpoint grounded in the belief in a monotheist diety that over all. Western countries in the past 250 years have been better at extrapolating this thought into the secular world than most of the rest of the world. Why is this?

This brings be back to leatherankh post that if we were to switch the religious afflilations of the Middle East with the U.S. that we would have a similar situation due to economic circumstances. While I’m not an expert on Islam, I think one of the major differences is the influence of the concept of free will expressed in Christianity. This concept combined with the notion of equality under the eyes of heaven gave permission to political philosophers to envision a democratic government. It also allows for the separation of church and state to be more easily attained and sustained.

Before this argument gets taken out of context, I’m not trying to make the point that Democracy is beholden to Judeo/ Christian values, rather that those values allowed for the concept of Democracy to take hold and be tolerent of other values. This is a sociological argument not a religious one. There are also many other factors that allowed us to get to this point, my main point is that religion was not a barrier to getting there.

As a side note to leatherankh, for your point to be valid, you have to discount the experience that the concept of Democracy in America and Europe have allowed our economic situation to flourish in comparison to the Middle East (especially) and other Third World countries. I point out the Middle East as an especially apt comparison because if I remember correctly it fits many of the Guns, Germs, and Steel parameters that should have allowed for a flourishing society, which has not been atained absent the concept of Democracy.

To Paul’s main point, I find myself agreeing for the first time in months with the thrust of your argument. However, I am with the skeptics that wonder if any change in our behavior or message will make much of a difference at this point. To understand if it will, we have to get to the bottom of why the terrorists are targeting us. This is a question that I’m not sure I completely understand.

Posted by: Rob at August 3, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #173038

I think the question needs to be asked, “Why do we need to reinvent ourselves to apease the Muslim populace?” As far as I can see, they Middle eastern nations need to begin to prove something to me. Reinvent themselves if you will.
I think as Americans, we have all noticed that when tragedy strikes, they call the good ol’ faithful United States. Even in the current conflict, though we are not actively involved, hate speech comes out agianst the US. You know, we need to bring the peace to the conflict. UN….where are you?

As a nation, we are not perfect and never will be but I would say for the most part we do more for this world than all of the Muslim nations combined. As far as I am concerned, it is time for them to prove something to us.

As good parents, send the kids to their room and let these ungratefuls fight it our amongst themselves and take the stand that they will not have the US to kick around any more. I don’t really belive that past statement, but is sure feels good to type it out.

They don’t LIKE us fine, take back our aid, our money, our embassies, our protection, our disaster relief, our science and our trade and tell these guys good ridance. Then, they will have a REAL good reason to not like us. Take it a step further and use their tactics……we will just go in and TAKE their oil with force. Hey, maybe then they would like us……..familar foes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon-at-large at August 3, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #173096

Rob, your points are well taken, and are the main reasons why I think Kirsch’s book merely presents an interesting thesis. I suspect that in many cases where one might think religion is the chief factor in a war, there are other, more important, underlying reasons. There’s the old saying that the new world was explored/exploited/conquered for God, Glory, and God, and God was the least reason.

Having said that, I do think a good case can be made for monotheistic religions containing, inter alia, the conditions for a certain type of zealotry, not to mention the desire for martydom. How do you construct a calculus that can determine whether monotheisism has been ultimately good or bad or neutral in world history? The issue of selection bias itself makes the problem difficult, not to mention the multitude of other factors that must be considered. As in many things, awareness of the issue is perhaps more important than arriving at a definitive conclusion.

Posted by: Trent at August 3, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #173101

WEll, you know, I meant “God, Glory, and Gold.” Maybe my slip has something to do with the way we worship the almighty dollar?

Posted by: Trent at August 3, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #173117

Our fellow Christians in Lebanon have started openly supporting “the resistance” called Hezbollah.

“In an event that would have been unthinkable a few months ago, in this country where politics is locked into religious lines, the Maronite Catholic patriarch — the spiritual leader of the most pro-Western populace — convened a meeting this week of religious leaders of other communities, Shiite and Sunni Muslims and several varieties of Christians, resulting in a statement of solidarity and photographs in Wednesday’s newspapers. Their joint statement, condemning the Israeli “aggression,” hailed “the resistance, mainly led by Hezbollah, which represents one of the sections of society.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03mideast.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&th&emc=th

Posted by: Josh at August 3, 2006 7:36 PM
Comment #173140

…..I think you are unfair / wrong in many of your accusations.
- To deserve such an unsolicited diatribe, the US must be PRETTY DAMN BAD compared to all the other countries out there, right?

You might not give anyone credit for doing something ~selflessly but, since you brought it up, please name a bunch of countries that have done something commensurate with saving Western Europe three times in the 20th century……
Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 09:51 PM

Brian, you say you think I am unfair/wrong in many of my accusations. Specifically, which ones?

As for US involvement in saving Europe from the Nazis….well, I am on record on this post expressing my huge admiration for the sacrifice the US made in the defeat of the Nazis, in particular the blood sacrifice of its young men. It should be remembered however, that the US did not come into that war until it was attacked by the ally of Germany, Japan. Not only that, but Hitler declared war on the US following Pearl Habour.

As to saving Western Europe from the USSR, again I have acknoledged Europes debt to the US many times. However again, it was very much in the interest of the US to do so, both to contain Soviet hegemony, and to preserve and build an important trade partner. That does not take away from the great good done for Europe, it merely recognises that it was also in the interests of the US. I don’t actually recall my history of US involvement in the first world war, and it’s too late at night now, (01.45) to start looking it up.
The way I see it Brian, it takes a friend to be honest with you, indeed it is the duty of our friends to challenge our views and to offer alternative interpretations. So give up your precious defensiveness. YOu have nothing to lose but the scales from your eyes. Fraternally yours etc……

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 3, 2006 8:49 PM
Comment #173151

Paul Siegel,

I totally agree with you. I have agreed with you from day one about the current Arab-Israeli war. But I’m totally dumbfounded! How can anyone demonize Israel out of this mess? Innocents died, well, wake up! They always do!

Israel had been giving in and giving up ground for about six years. I’ve not taken time to pull up any of the vague news reports but over the past five or six years Israel had suffered a few dozen random missile attacks and they did nothing!

Obviously no one cared because it was just the f***ing Jews. I don’t get it! Just imagine if we were foolish enough to let the KKK to gain enough power to assemble an armed capability like that of Hezbollah. If we allowed the KKK to basically declare war on Canada or Mexico what do you think the circumstances might be?

This is absurd and insane. I can only assume those who are anti-Israeli at this point are either totally “pacifist”, which I can respect, or Anti-Semite, which I can’t respect! I truly just don’t get it.

Color me stupid!
KansasDem
PS: My confusion can’t be religious bias because I am truly agnostic.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 3, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #173163

KansasDem—-There many Spinmiesters spreading their
dirt as usual, how ever, I think this debate
comes more from ignorance of the topic than hate.
Don’t feel alone, because you can not help anyone who chooses to be confrontational in the first
place. If you wisdom is able to be absorbed by just
a few people, that would be a good thing! It’s
like faith, it can’t be seen but it can be felt, even being agnostic, I bet you have felt faith,
but haven’t recognised it yet. (‘,’)

Posted by: DAVID at August 3, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #173181

To Rob, while I understand your point, I think you might be getting the cart a little ahead of the horse. While democracy may well be the best political model to encourage economic growth, I doubt that it is a necessity to begin it. Remember, Europe became a trade powerhouse during the Rennaisance with nothing but divine-right monarchies as far as the eye could see. I am also familiar with Jared Diamond, and GGS was about the seeds of societal development, which Islam had in spades once upon a time, not where they go from there. Take a look at his other book, “Collapse”, for a bit more info. One more tidbit: there have been a great many lively debates over the centuries dealing with Christianity and free will. Heck, Calvinism is based completely on the idea that free will is an illusion. Religions evolve right along with the societies that embrace them, and to think that our current incarnation of Christianity would remain intact if we were the ones in the Middle East and Islam had become the “fortunate son” ignores that fact.

That having been said, perhaps I should clairfy myself a little. I don’t agree that “all wars are economic’, merely that religious extremism and economic hardship go hand in hand most of the time. This is not to say that all the Middle East needs is a great big infusion of cash and all would be right with the world. Just that you cannot separate religion from the society that births and embraces it.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at August 4, 2006 2:11 AM
Comment #173219

Kansasdem,

“How can anyone demonize Israel out of this mess?”

I’m not against Israel reacting appropriately to lower the chances of them getting hit in the future.

I am against Israel as they are turning Lebanon into an even bigger quagmire than when they went in under the leadership of Sharon, committing nothing less then genocide in Sabra-Shatila. Hezbollah grew out of that to the strongest “party” in Lebanon, bound to hit Israel again.

Back to the present: At first when Hezbollah kidnapped those Israeli soldiers the majority of Lebanese were NOT supporting Hezbollah in doing so. Only that kind of situation on the ground makes a solution to this conflict possible. But Israel quite litteraly blew it. At present the clear majority of Lebanese have started openly support Hezbollah, including the large majority of Lebanese Christians.

The rationale for Israel’s reaction to the two kidnappings was to (1) turn the Lebanese against Hezbollah, (2) weaken Hezbollah’s missile-launching abilities and (3) free the hostages.

For that they almost solely used air bombings of Lebanese infrastructure - buildings and transportation - and militants. This as the ground offensive proved to be a grand failure from the beginning, only getting a couple of miles into Lebanon.

Israel now claims it has almost killed off Hezbollah. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While Lebanon is in chaos politically, economically and socially, Hezbollah is firing more rockets than ever before and almost the whole of the Lebanese population is supporting them now. There are no political parties with a heavier weight and comparable popular base in the country and Israel just made them the strongest of all! Where do you expect people to turn to? Some pro-Israel/U.S. party? Well, obviously they have clearly chosen to support what the majority of Lebanese now openly call “liberators”. As they lost families, friends, homes, infrastructure, etc. they are sure to support Hezbollah all the way now.

Israel has never been a successful agent of change in Lebanon. Their involvement has always led to catastrophic results, and deepened the fissures in Lebanese society.

Israel calling for an international “peace” force to “fully disarm Hamas” after they turned almost all Lebanese in anti-Israelis and put the country in the greatest chaos imaginable is cynical to say the least.

This “peace force” will be seen as a U.S./Israeli agent for sure and will force Hezbollah to stand up even stronger against Israel. Israel has succesfully created a quagmire and will also succeed in dragging in the international community on their side to polarize and worsen matters even more for everyone around the globe.

The only other way out imo was to have a number of Muslem countries joining in that “peace force”. But the chances of that happening were also blown to bits by Israel, as the people in those Muslem countries would never allow their soldiers to be included in a pro-Israeli anti-Hezbollah force. Not anymore. Not after this Israeli “response”.

What will actually follow? A civil war in Lebanon putting other local parties - supported financially and militarily by us, cfr. paying drug warlords and maintaining them in power in Afghanistan to battle the Taliban - against Hezbollah, sure to drag in Syria and Iran - and other Muslems from around the globe -, face to face with “peace forces” from around the globe?

Israel just made matters a lot worse for the whole world.

Posted by: Josh at August 4, 2006 7:59 AM
Comment #173220

ps: sorry for the lengthy essay. Would like a response though.

Posted by: Josh at August 4, 2006 8:05 AM
Comment #173228

In response to the question, “I would dare ask WHY we have to proceed there at all.” ,
Josh wrote the following:
———————————————
———————————————
Because our recent actions don’t leave us an alternative to proceeding.

A lot of moderate muslems were gaining enormous influence in Iranian daily life before we started meddling around in Iraq. Lebanon was an example of democratization, albeit with Hezbollah as a member of the government. Through our military actions (bombing Afghanistan, “liberating” Iraq, supporting Israel vs Lebanon) we have driven millions and millions of muslems towards their equivalent of our religious right. Much alike we “rallied around the flag” (/the President) immediately after 911, they now rally around however that uses the harshest rethorics against us.

Proceeding gently and diplomatically is the only option left. A further militarization will only make matters worse.
———————————————
———————————————
I half agree with you Josh.

While I would certainly agree that America’s intervention has created a domino effect of unforeseen consequences, that isn’t reason enough to continue playing the game.
Certainly military conflict creates more of these conflicts, but I believe “diplomacy” is fruitless as well.

It goes way back…brief history lesson here!
While we had pretty much blocked Soviet expansion in Europe, Afghanistan was the last remaining door for Soviet expansion south into the Middle East where the Saudis and others felt a certain threat for their oilfields. Being the world’s primary producer of goods and technology, such a threat was also a threat to the US economy.

Carter devised the great scheme to provide money and weapons, Pakistan would provide the intelligence, and the Saudis among others would primarily recruit fighters. The incentive used to recruit was the religious theme of preserving Islamic lands from Soviet invasion.

Well, after 10 years of war, these fighters had become hardened warriors who had extreme religious convictions…and none of their native countries wanted them back possibly stirring up civil unrest, so basically all of them simply denied passports back into their country. these “homeless” warriors eventually became what we now know as the Talibal, Al Quiada, etc….

Now, while many Muslims despise western values, that isnt the reason they use terror against us.
Of all the theories I’ve read in my studies, one makes the most sense.
Bin Laden despises the increasingly secular leadership of middle eastern countries who dillute Islam with western values, relationships and economics. (Especially Saudi Arabia who has ‘defiled’ holy land by allowing westerners on it) He doesnt care about the U.S. - he would like to see these leaders overthrown and Islamic states instituted across the middle east.

However, to do so, they need the Muslim street to join in rebelling against leadership. One way to incite the Muslim street is to facilitate the presence of westerners on Islamic soil and if violence is part of the equation, even better.

Many believe that AL Quaida has been targeting America for a while simply to lure us further into the middle east where our presence on their land and the inevitable deaths from militant conflict would incite the fury necessary to mount rebellion against leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, etc.

Was it Ben Franklin who warned against entangling alliances?

Im a proponent of free trade.
However, when accessing goods with a trade partner becomes so dangerous, I no longer believe it wise to obtain those goods there. (I go to best buy for a computer rather than the pawn shop in the ghetto…even if it costs me a bit more)

So, we come full circle.
Being an energy driven economy, we NEED oil because it is a relatively cheap way to supplement our energy needs. The technology for discovery and drilling has become incredibly clean and safe and alternative fuels are increasingly more available as they become cost efficient.

But the environmental wackos still politicize the topic and we no longer can access the vast oil resources in the Gulf, in Alaska, offshore or on the mainland. These people have sacrificed our security as a nation for their own feel-good ideals.

And think about it.
That backwards sandpit over there offers nothing to the world economy except oil.
I’d like to see us pull out of the region completely. Sure, oil prices would rise dramatically at first while America ramped up its own production, but the decreased demand for middle eastern oil would result in a price war between China, Russia, venezuela and the middle east….inevitably bringing those prices back down.

Meanwhile, we could let the weird beards kill eachother if they wish.
Unfortunately, I dont think the environmental wackos can bear to part with their quasi-religion and I dont believe the average American could suffer the pain of a few years of $5.00 a gallon gas.

So carry on diplomats and soldiers, carry on.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at August 4, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #173232

Matt said “However, to do so, they need the Muslim street to join in rebelling against leadership.”

Now they are already rebelling against Israel and the U.S., forcing their own governments to take stands opposite to the interests of Israel/U.S. or risk a massive popular uprising. Putting an international “peace” force as a human shield for Israel will only provoke more and wider rebellion.

Question is whether the more moderate governments/so-called U.S. allied governments (Saudis, etc.) will be strong enough to hold back the masses when the going gets even tougher in Lebanon.

I think you are absolutely right on the “Al Quaida wanted us there” to rally their own troops/masses/political ambitions. We have played right into their cards imo.

Posted by: Josh at August 4, 2006 9:04 AM
Comment #173236

On the other hand, I can’t agree with your “environmental wackos” thesis:

“But the environmental wackos still politicize the topic and we no longer can access the vast oil resources in the Gulf, in Alaska, offshore or on the mainland. These people have sacrificed our security as a nation for their own feel-good ideals.”

As you agree we only went to the sandbox for oil you must surely agree with those environmental wackos on oil. They have been trying to make the government lower our world-leading (per capita and absolute) energy consumption for ages as they saw this coming.

This Administration would have headed for the sandbox even if Alaska were wide open anyway.

Posted by: Josh at August 4, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #173255

The danger of Dichotomy is that the two choices offered are not always the only ones; they often represent only the conflict that the person percieves or wishes to avoid facing.

Example: Pro-War/Anti-War . Some might lump me in as anti-war, but in doing so, they miss an important point: I’ve never really been an ardent pacifists. I often advocate military solutions against al-Qaeda, and though I am against our having started the Iraq war, I have no problem with us fighting it to the very end.

That said, I’m not somebody who thinks military solutions are the only ones worth pursuing. In Israel, the distinction isn’t even so cut and dried as that. People are substituting anger for good sense, and the bloodshed from this will go on for quite some time as a result. Israel did not have to go to the extremes it did to mount a successful defense. It has now succeeded in doing precisely the opposite of what was intended: the pacification of Hezbollah.

The problem here is with people who see the world too much in terms of winning their policy debates. They become slaves to their own methods, worshipping them in hopes that their adoration will be vindicated, cursing those who question their approaches.

I feel the right in this country is supporting Israel largely to support itself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #173310

“I’m not against Israel reacting appropriately to lower the chances of them getting hit in the future.”

Josh,

Considering this list what is “appropriate”?

Hezbollah Terrorist Attacks Since May 2000:

24 Jul 2006 - Hezbollah fired more than 70 Katyusha rockets into Israel, several of which landed in Nahariya, Safed, and Kiryat Shmona. Medics treated at least 49 people who were lightly to moderately wounded. More than 2200 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities since July 12, killing 17 Israelis, all of them civilians. 20 Israeli soldiers were killed in other incidents.

23 Jul 2006 - Shimon Glickblich, 60, of Haifa was killed Sunday morning (11:00) while driving his car in Haifa. Habib Isa Awad, 48, of Iblin, was killed while working in the carpentry shop in Kiryat Ata. Another 12 were wounded in the morning barrage in Haifa, and more later in the day as over 90 rockets were fired at Haifa, Akko, Kiryat Shmona, and elsewhere in northern Israel.

20 Jul 2006 - Five IDF soldiers were killed and five wounded in continuing exchanges of fire in the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, near Avivim, where two soldiers were killed on Wednesday. The body of the fifth soldier, St.-Sgt. Yonatan (Sergei) Vlasyuk, 21, of Kibbutz Lahav was retrieved on July 22. At 16, Yonatan immigrated alone to Israel through the Jewish Agency’s “Na’aleh” program. He was adopted by Dalia Gal, a member of Kibbutz Lahav in the Negev. An IDF officer was killed and three soldiers were wounded as two Apache (Cobra) combat helicopters on their way to Lebanon to assist IDF forces operating against Hezbollah terrorists near Avivim collided and then crashed south of Kiryat Shmona.

19 Jul 2006 - St.-Sgt. Yonatan Hadasi, 21, of Kibbutz Merhavia and St.-Sgt. Yotam Gilboa, 21, of Kibbutz Maoz Haim were killed and nine soldiers were wounded in exchanges of fire between IDF and Hezbollah in south Lebanon, near Moshav Avivim. The Israeli force had crossed the border to destroy the Hezbollah rocket-launching position at the former IDF outpost of Shaked. Rabia Abed Taluzi (3) and his brother Mahmoud (7) who were playing soccer outside their house were killed and dozens were wounded in two Katyusha rocket attacks on the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth.

18 Jul 2006 - Andrei Zelinksy, 36, was killed Tuesday evening in Nahariya outside a bomb shelter. Though he managed to save his family by rushing them into the shelter, he returned home to get a blanket for his daughter and was killed. Some 130 rockets were fired at the north on Tuesday, 100 of them within one hour and a half - also landing in the Haifa area, Karmiel, Tiberias, Safed, Maalot and Rosh Pina. About 60 people injured were evacuated to hospitals in Safed and Nahariya.

17 Jul 2006 - Over 50 rockets were fired towards the eastern and upper Galilee on Monday night. A Katyusha rocket hit the external wall of the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, causing damage to infrastructure; five patients, two doctors and two other hospital employees were injured. Earlier, 11 people were wounded in Haifa when a 3-story apartment building was hit by missile. The Israel Air Force destroyed at least ten long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv, by targeting a Hezbollah truck carrying the missiles before they could be launched. To date, missiles have been fired up to 40 kilometers into Israel.

16 Jul 2006 - Eight killed, 50 wounded in Hezbollah rocket attack on Haifa - Rockets began falling on the Haifa area shortly after 9:00 a.m. Eight employees of Israel Railways at the Haifa train depot were killed in a direct hit by a Fajar missile made in Syria. A total of over 50 people were wounded in Haifa and the Haifa Bay area.

15 Jul 2006 - Katyusha rockets landed for the first time in Tiberias, located 35 kilometers from the Lebanese border on the Sea of Galilee, as well as in nearby communities.

14 Jul 2006 - Shortly after 8:30 p.m. =46riday night an Israeli navy ship was severely damaged by an Iran-manufactured missile fired by Hezbollah. Four IDF soldiers were killed: Staff Sgt. Tal Amgar, 21, of Ashdod; Yaniv Hershkovitz, 21, of Haifa; Shai Atias, 19, ofRishon Lezion; and Dov Steinshuss, 37, of Karmiel. Omer Pesachov, 7, of Nahariya, and his grandmother Yehudit Itzkovitch, 58, of Moshav Meron were killed by a Katyusha rocket in Meron early Friday evening. Roni, Omer’s older sister, was badly wounded, and the grandfather, Naftali, was lightly hurt. The family had fled the Katyushas in Nahariya to spend a quiet weekend with their grandparents.

13 Jul 2006 - Monica Seidman (Lehrer), 40, of Nahariya was killed in her home by a Katyusha rocket Thursday morning. In the evening, Nitzan Roseban, 33, was killed in Safed by a direct rocket hit. On Thursday evening Katyushas landed in Haifa.

12 Jul 2006 - Hezbollah terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory and attacked two IDF armored jeeps patrolling the border with Lebanon, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two. Ground forces entered Lebanon in the area of the attack. A large explosive device was detonated underneath an Israeli tank, killing all four of the tank crew. An eighth soldier was killed when IDF troops entered Lebanon to try to retrieve the bodies of the tank crew. Throughout the day, Hezbollah terror organization fired Katyusha rockets and mortar shells at Israel’s northern borders’ communities and IDF posts.

27 May 2006 - An IDF soldier was wounded when Katyushas were fired at an army base at Mt. Meron in the upper Galilee.

27 Dec 2005 - A branch of a Palestinian organization connected to Al-Qaida fired 6 Katyushas, damaging a house in Kiryat Shmona and a house in Metulla. In response, the IAF attacked a training base of the Popular Front, south of Beirut.

21 Nov 2005 - An attempt to kidnap an IDF soldier was foiled when paratroopers patrolling near Rajar village discerned a Hezbollah unit approaching. Private David Markovitz opened fire, killing all four. In a heavy attack of mortars and Katyusha rockets that ensued, nine soldiers and and two civilians were injured.

29 Jun 2005 - More than 20 mortars were fired from across the border. Cpl. Uzi Peretz of the Golani Brigade was killed and four soldiers wounded, including the unit’s doctor. Fire was exchanged and helicopters and planes attacked five Hezbollah outposts in the Reches Ramim area.

24 Apr 2005 - Several explosive devices exploded near the Lebanese-Israeli border, in the Mount Dov area. Officials believe the devices were planted by Hezbollah, but this was not confirmed. No injuries were reported in the explosions.

7 Apr 2005 - Two Israeli-Arabs from the village of Rajar near the Israel-Lebanon border were kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives and held in captivity for four days. The men, identified as Muki Ben-Jamal and Nuef Maharj Ben-Ali, said they were interrogated by their captors who wanted information on Israel. They were later released. Israeli officials did not believe that any security information had been compromised.

9 Jan 2005 - An explosive device was detonated against an IDF patrol at Nahal Sion. One Israeli soldier was killed, and a UN officer was killed.

20 Jul 2004 - Hezbollah sniper fired at an IDF post in the western sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border. Two IDF soldiers were killed.

7 May 2004 - Fire in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Dennis Leminov was killed, and two other soldiers were severely wounded. The IDF returned fire.

19 Jan 2004 - An anti-tank missile was fired at IDF D9 while neutralizing explosive charges near Zari’t. An IDF soldier, Yan Rotzenski, was killed and another soldier was severely wounded.

6 Oct 2003 - Staff Sgt. David Solomonov was killed when Hezbollah fired at an IDF force south of the =46atma Gate in the eastern sector. In addition, the Hezbollah fired missiles and rockets at an IDF post in the Reches Ramim area.

10 Aug 2003 - Haviv Dadon, 16, of Shlomi, was struck in the chest and killed by shrapnel from an anti-aircraft shell fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Four others were wounded.

20 Jul 2003 - Hezbollah snipers fired on an Israeli outpost near Chetula, killing two Israeli soldiers. The IDF retaliated with tank fire directed at a Hezbollah position, killing one operative manning the post. That night, there were multiple Israeli flights over Lebanon, two of which generated powerful sonic booms over Beirut.

7 May 2003 - Hezbollah attacked IDF positions in the Sheba’ farms with heavy rocket, mortar, and small arms fire. One Israeli soldier was killed and five others were wounded in the attack. Lebanese authorities asserted that the Hezbollah firing had been preceded by an Israeli army foot patrol crossing the Blue Line.

5 May 2003 - A cycle of armed exchanges across the Blue Line began. Israel carried out more than 20 air sorties over the country. Subsequently, Hezbollah fired several anti-aircraft rounds with shrapnel landing inside Israel.

22 Mar 2003 - Hezbollah fired rockets and mortars at Israeli army positions in the Sheba’ farms and adjacent areas. This attack followed eight incursions into Lebanese airspace by Israeli aircraft.

6 Jan 2003 - Hezbollah fired anti aircraft shells in the vicinity of Birait in the western sector of the Lebanese border. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

29 Aug 2002 - Fire at an IDF post in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Ofer Misali was killed, and two other soldiers were lightly wounded.

12 Mar 2002 - Infiltration: In a shooting attack on the Shlomi- Metzuba route. Six Israelis civilians were killed, among them IDF officer Lt. German Rojkov.

7 Aug 2001 - Two houses belonging to senior members of the former Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army militia were blown up using explosive devices. One of the houses belonged to Robin Abboud; the other to Samir Raslan. Hezbollah is suspected.

28 Apr 2001 - A 60 year-old Israeli man was found stabbed to death in Kfar Ba’aneh, near Carmiel in Galilee. The terrorists responsible for the attack were apprehended in July. Six members of a Hezbollah-linked Palestinian terrorist cell responsible for the murder were arrested in July. The murder was the initiation rite of the organization.

14 Apr 2001 - Fire at an IDF post in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Elad Litvak was killed.

1 Apr 2001 - A 42 year-old Israeli woman was stabbed to death in Haifa. Her murder was the initiation rite of a terrorist cell, whose members were apprehended in July. Six members of a Hezbollah-linked Palestinian terrorist cell responsible for the murder, originally thought to be criminally motivated, were arrested in July. The murder was the initiation rite of one of the terrorists into the organization.

16 Feb 2001- Fire at an IDF convoy on Mt. Dov. IDF soldier Elad Shneor was killed, and three other soldiers were wounded.

26 Nov 2000 - A charge was detonated near an IDF convoy. IDF soldier Khalil Taher was killed and two other soldiers were wounded.

7 Oct 2000 - Kidnapping: Three IDF soldiers: Adi Avitan, Omer Soued and Binyamin Avraham were kidnapped by the Hezbollah from the Mt. Dov sector.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Foreign Affairs Summary of Events; RAND Terrorism Database; The Institute for Counter-Terrorism; U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights Practices for 2004

http://www.aijac.org.au/resources/hezb_00-06.html

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at August 4, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #173312

Stephen,

To accept your premise, you have to accept the key phrase in your post, “It has now succeeded in doing precisely the opposite of what was intended: the pacification of Hezbollah.”

Do you think Israel sees that as its goal in this action? I think the opposite may be true. I’m not even sure it is the ulitimate goal. I think the removal of Hezbollah is more like the scenario.

Posted by: Rob at August 4, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #173329

Then there’s this little “blast from the past”:

March 2005: “A demonstration organized by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement brought a crowd estimated at between 500,000 and 1 million people into the streets of Beirut Tuesday to oppose US intervention in Lebanon and denounce Washington’s mounting threats against Syria.”

“The crowd, drawn predominantly from the Shiite population, Lebanon’s largest and historically most oppressed, chanted “Death to America,” “Death to Israel” and “Beirut is free, America out.” Protesters carried placards reading “America is the source of terrorism,” and “All our disasters come from America.” One bore a photo of Bush and the words, “Lebanon isn’t your playground.” Others expressed support for Syria.”

The entire article is a very worthwhile read:

http://wsws.org/articles/2005/mar2005/leba-m10.shtml

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 4, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #173424

Pacification can be a euphemism for beating the shit out of people until they stop trying to attack you. Or eliminating them outright.

Unfortunately, the people in charge of the military effort are seriously overestimating their ability to intimidate people into seeing things their way. If they want constant war for the next few years, they’d doing fine, but that is precisely the situation we wish to avoid with our own asses entangled in Iraq. We don’t have the readiness to come to their aid that we once had.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #173514

Josh wrote:
On the other hand, I can’t agree with your “environmental wackos” thesis:
As you agree we only went to the sandbox for oil you must surely agree with those environmental wackos on oil. They have been trying to make the government lower our world-leading (per capita and absolute) energy consumption for ages as they saw this coming.

This Administration would have headed for the sandbox even if Alaska were wide open anyway.
—————————————————-
—————————————————-
I believe we should acknowledge the distinction between true environmentalists and the wackos I refer to.

True environmentalists generally recognize the need for responsible stewardship in governing our resources, but recognize that those resources are there for us to UTILIZE!

Stark contrast to the wackos who generally desire to weaken capitalism, especially American capitalism, in order to soothe their misplaced guilt resulting from a simplistic liberal social philosophy which worships those resources as some kind of priceless sentimental treasure.

The same prophets of doom who quote diminishing oil reserves are the ones who know almost nothing about the economics of oil discovery and drilling. Known reserves do not offer any accurate estimate of potential reserves.

And even if their predictions were remotely accurate, it is interesting to note these very same folks cringe at the idea of nuclear energy which has become the cleanest, most efficient energy source available….even France gets that much and nuclear energy provides 70% of their needs!

Furthermore, there was a time when hysterical do-gooders agonized over the depletion of wood and coal…predicting certain demise of society. I still get quite a kick out of the “State of the World” textbook I had in college which predicted we’d be out of oil by 2000.

These people continue to transpose their own ignorance of economics and lack of faith in human ingenuity onto the energy issue…failing to recognize that simple supply/demand relationships create pricing which promotes the incentives for alternative energy sources.
As oil becomes too expensive, the demand for alternatives drives up prices which make it profitable to explore and develop further.
Such long term shifts take time.

While early American cities were stinking holes of soot, smoke, horse piss/poop, and stagnant pools of human waste, we now have coal, oil, natural gas, solar, hydro, hybrid and nuclear power.

The wackos never seem to learn from history, nor do they seem willing to consider it…usually because they are too emotionally attached to their political religion to think clearly and it is the intention of their vision that truly matters…not the reality of outcomes.
(As an aside, most environmentalists of this type wouldn’t last 8 hours in a forest and couldn’t catch a fish with a dragnet in a stocked pond.)

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at August 5, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #173541

“Pacification can be a euphemism for beating the shit out of people until they stop trying to attack you.”

Stephen,

You’re absolutely right!

Unfortunately I believe that’s what it’s going to take now to slow the growth of Radical Islamic terrorism. I have given this great thought and I truly believe that all of those who desire peace must take a very hard stance and hit the terrorists wherever they are.

If any country is either unwilling or unable to root out the terrorist cells within their own boundries then what’s happening in Lebanon might very well happen to them. Those who are “unable” to crush the terror cells within their midst must be able to request the help of a true “peacemaking” force that can and will get the job done.

Groups such as Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah must know that they CAN NOT survive as long as they employ violence as a means to their end. Those who preach violence as a means to eliminate an entire religious or ethnic group must know that they are only inviting their own demise and that of their followers.

What we in the USA should be concerned about is the current ability of our own National Guard, Army, and Marine’s. All of the recent reports I’ve read indicate that we have very few, if any, troops ready to deploy for action if needed. Iraq, while being low on the list of threats to America, has pretty much depleted our resources to fight an effective war on terror.

If we were to face an all out conflict with Iran and Syria simultaneously our ground troops in Iraq would be nearly disseminated. We would have no recourse but to “blanket bomb” or “nuke” Iran and Syria! If that should happen how many other Islamic nations will think they’re next? What will their response be?

You always want to prepare for the worst and at the same time try to prevent it. Bush & Co. have done neither.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at August 5, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #173559

Unfortunately I believe that’s what it’s going to take now to slow the growth of Radical Islamic terrorism. I have given this great thought and I truly believe that all of those who desire peace must take a very hard stance and hit the terrorists wherever they are.

If any country is either unwilling or unable to root out the terrorist cells within their own boundries then what’s happening in Lebanon might very well happen to them. Those who are “unable” to crush the terror cells within their midst must be able to request the help of a true “peacemaking” force that can and will get the job done.
Posted by: KansasDem at August 5, 2006 05:48 PM

Kansas, I often find myself in agreement with you, however, this time, I have to say you just don’t get it. Is it sometime in American culture that so many seem to think that if a little violence doen’t work, up the ante and try even more.

Terrorism in not something you can fight by conventional military means, as all to often, the cure is worse than the disease. Afghanistan is an obvious exception to this rule, as the Taliban were unwilling to be realistic and give up Al Queda, so it was necessary to take out their regime. Pity that the focus wasn’t kept on turning Afghanistan around, as we all see now that the Taliban are more active now than ever since 2002. afganistan is no nearer to building a civil society now than before, with Nato troops just about keeping a lid on things as they are, and the Northern Alliance warlords still ruling much of the country, with Karzai’s writ hardly even ruling in Kabul.

To get back to the point tho’. Fighting terrorism is primarily a policing action. It must be foremostly an intelligence driven acivity, with perhaps occasional small scale special ops input. To think that you can defeat terrorism by large scale conventional military action displays an amazing lack of understanding of the dynamics of terrorism. That is exactly the kind of response they want. It incenses the civil population and drives them into the arms of the extremists, creating even more resistance to the attacking force. This is immediately apparent in Iraq, were the US military were supposed to be greeted with flowers in their path and singing in the streets. It is asinine to think that you can fight a war on terror in such a way. Terrorisms are by their nature small bands who operate largely on the fringes, with perhaps some measure of support among the civilian population. It also has to be said, that usually you will find some degree of legitimate grievance behind terrorism. By addressing such grievances in an honest way, takes the oxygen from the support from terrorism.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at August 5, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #173600

My opinion is: Stay within our own borders, work on our own problems and stay out of everyone else’s business and let them work on their own problems themselves. Period!

Posted by: Jimbeaux at August 6, 2006 9:09 AM
Comment #173626

KansasDem wrote: (very true statements)

If any country is either unwilling or unable to root out the terrorist cells within their own boundries then whats happening in Lebanon might very well happen to them. Those who are unable to crush the terror cells within their midst must be able to request the help of a true peacemaking force that can and will get the job done.

Iraq, while being low on the list of threats to America, has pretty much depleted our resources to fight an effective war on terror.

You always want to prepare for the worst and at the same time try to prevent it. Bush & Co. have done neither.

And, Paul in Euroland wrote:
Fighting terrorism is primarily a policing action. Terrorisms are by their nature small bands who operate largely on the fringes, with perhaps some measure of support among the civilian population. It also has to be said, that usually you will find some degree of legitimate grievance behind terrorism. By addressing such grievances in an honest way, takes the oxygen from the support from terrorism.

______________________________

I believe that Kansas is right. The key to the “hearts and minds” of terrorism is to make peace, much more desirable, than war. The only way to do this, is to make violance by terrorist groups —- Zero-Tolerance. (By the people of that country, and by the rest of the world … at large).

What the comments from Paul are missing are the resolve for “peace at any price” theory, that I propose. Yes, its true that terrorism are acts from small bands of individuals. And, its true that the motivation for such acts are sometimes the same, and sometimes different, depending upon that paticular groups motivation. However, what is absolutely correct, is that these small bands of collective terrorist organizations are always supported by a higher collective. The only way to distroy these terrorists cells are to operate on the hearts and minds, of this higher support collective.

It is the same theory that broke the KKK in this country. Once collective community support was withdrawn, the KKK fell on its collective butt. Its no longer acceptable to hang blacks from trees. Its no longer acceptable, or legal, to support or engage in hate crimes, in this country.

To answer you, Paul:

Dealing, bargaining, with terrorists has never been the answer. There will always be a “reason” for some to think that terriorist acts will create the end result that they desire. (Holding hostages, to rob a bank, or blowing up civilians to make a political statement, of hate).

However, if a church, a state, a people, a country, or a government, supports such actions?

THEN THEY HAVE TO BE AWARE THAT DISTRUCTION OF THEM……

IS, HAS TO BE, THE ONLY OUT-COME!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 6, 2006 1:48 PM
Post a comment